By Aaron Recuenco
BATANGAS CITY — At least P100 million per day is being spent for the food and water of the evacuees displaced by the eruption of the Taal Volcano, Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas said.
Mandanas said the figure was based on the assessment and computation conducted a few days ago for the more or less 200,000 evacuees staying in evacuation centers and approximately 800,000 others who have been staying with their relatives.
“We are spending P100 a day for each of the evacuee, that includes the food and water,” said Mandanas.
“But that is for the food alone, it does not include other basic needs like soap, toothpaste and others,” he added.
Mandanas earlier disclosed that the Taal Volcano eruption had already displaced one million people, the estimate was based on the population of the areas inside the 14-kilometer danger zone.
The Provincial Government of Batangas is currently enforcing mandatory evacuation within the 14-kilometer danger zone which is described to be the striking distance of the ring-like cloud of intensely hot gases and volcanic materials if a base surge occurs.
Among the areas that were locked down were Talisay, Laurel, San Nicolas, Balete, Agoncillo and some areas in Lemery, Taal, Sta. Teresita, Mataas na Kahoy, Lipa City and Tanauan City.
Earlier, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has prohibited the implementation of “window hours” for local residents to return to their homes in locked down areas.
Mandanas said that he expects that there are no more people within the danger zones as this was the strict order of the DILG.
The DILG earlier warned that they would forcibly evacuate all the people who remain within the 14-kilometer danger zone.
“We are currently locating all the evacuees outside the evacuation centers to extend help to them because we believe that their relatives who opened their houses cannot sustain their daily needs,” said Mandanas.
This is the reason, according to Mandanas, why they have been calling all the evacuees outside the evacuation centers to coordinate with local officials where they are currently seeking refuge.
“We cannot just abandon them, they too are affected, they too need help,” said Mandanas.
Mandanas also disclosed that distribution centers of relief goods have already been set up in every towns and cities where evacuees are staying.
“This is to facilitate the distribution of food and other basic needs of the evacuees,” said Mandanas.
Through the distribution centers, there will be a protocol that would be followed on the distribution system of relief items from the national government, provincial government and non-government organizations.
The presence of distribution centers, according to Mandanas, would also maximize the accounting of all the evacuees.
The Provincial Government of Batangas is currently printing distribution cards that would be given for each family.
In order to prevent double distribution, Mandanas said indelible ink would be used to identify evacuees who were already given relief goods every schedule of distribution.
“Through this, we can be sure that the evacuees will not take advantage of the relief distribution system,” said Mandanas.
Funds and Re-alignment
Batangas has a P200 million calamity fund for this year, and another P100 million unused calamity fund last year.
He said that the figure is the standing fund of the Provincial Government. The local government is mostly banking on the donations and the funds from the national government
Since only 30 percent of the P200 million can be used at this time of the year, he said the Provincial Council will re-align funds to sustain the needs of the evacuees.